Justin and I are actually just getting ready to leave Georgia. When this is released, we will have just left. I think I probably say this quite a bit about every state, but wow! I hadn’t done a ton of research on Georgia before going. We knew there were some things we wanted to see, but now as we drive and see Georgia in our rear view mirror, we know we have to go back!
Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area – Gorgeous Providence Canyon, affectionately known as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon,” is one of Georgia’s most treasured locations. It’s even been touted as one of the state’s “Seven Natural Wonders,” which is totally weird because the canyon is not only far from “natural,” its creation was more blunder than wonder. Those exquisitely-hued sediment walls are a product of inexperienced farmers making a colossal mess of things, and Mother Nature just kind of worked with it from there.
Aside from waterfalls and slot canyons, we love mystery. Abandoned places that were due to some historic event, or interesting situation. Or something strange that was just never “figured out”. Well, have you heard of the Georgia Guidestones? In June of 1979, a man going by the pseudonym of R.C. Christian approached the Elberton Granite Finishing Company with the task of building a monument. He said that no one was to ever know his true identity or that of the group that he was representing. He seemed to have an endless supply of money to fund the project and by the terms of the legal contract all plans had to be destroyed after completion and all information about him withheld from the public. In 1980, the stones were finished. They carry a tablet in front proclaiming, “Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason.” Engraved in the stones are ten guidelines meant to re-establish the planet and society, perhaps after an apocalypse. They are written in eight different languages, English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese and Russian. I’ll let you discover what the guidestones say and whether it’s something you want to go see. Another one of those mysteries about the USA we are intrigued about.
Toccoa Falls – You knew there would be a few waterfalls in this post right? Did you know the Toccoa water fall is taller than Niagara Falls? This waterfall is easily reached, and make sure you pack a lunch! Such a beautiful place to just sit and eat your lunch and listen to the power of this waterfall. This waterfall is actually on the campus of Toccoa Falls College. Entrance is through their bookstore. The story behind the falls is quite sad and tragic. Read about it before you go. It might just make you appreciate it even more!
Starrs Mill – Fayette County – A really fantastic part of history. We love the old mills when we’re able to just wander around. During the mid 19th century, thousands of mills across eastern United States took advantage of an endless supply of water power. With all the heavy recent rains, the water is flowing pretty good. Be careful!
Anna Ruby Falls is located in Unicoi State Park in White County near Helen, Georgia. Easy, paved half mile trail. Once you drive through Unicoi Park you will enter forest service property and soon arrive at the Anna Ruby Falls Visitor Center. Here is where you pay your $3 recreation use fee (per person, 16 and older; free for kids under 16) and access the trailhead.
When Justin mentioned checking out the Okefenokee Swamp. I thought it was a joke. I kept wondering how I’d heard this very nonsense word before. A movie? Help me out here people! I still don’t know where I’d heard this before. Cartoon? And then I realized it really is a real place. A really cool place!!! So off we went. We enjoyed an hour boat ride down part of the swamp. And learned that if you bring your own kayak, you can launch from right there at the adventure center for $5, or free if you have the America the Beautiful pass. We also learned that again, it was a place we will have to come back to. I think sometimes we find these amazing things to explore, and while we are there, learn something else about the place we didn’t allot enough time to do. Yes we make our own schedule but we had already made plans to be in Florida at a certain time, so needless to say, it’s back on our list when we are in Georgia again.
Can’t find boondocking on the East Coast? HOGWASH! There are plenty of great boondocking places! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard there aren’t any free places to camp on the East Coast. It’s definitely harder, but there is still plenty of places.
- Clayhole Swamp WMA – GPS: 31.366706, -81.569248 Big rig friendly. We personally didn’t stay here. It was our “Plan A” but the road from both sides to get in was under construction and totally closed. So we had move on to our plan B that day. Good cell service if you need it. Wide open area. Apparently there is a permit you need here. I’m here to tell you we spoke to an unnamed official who said we didn’t hear it from her, but in Georgia, they can not ticket you for not having the permit while camping, and only can ask you get one. In fact, she recommended that we wait until we are asked to get one, and then ask them how and where. She explained that most of them will carry the permits, or have a website you can go to. She said this isn’t something they actually go out and check for. Just passing information on.
- Horse Creek WMA – GPS: 31.830794, -82.872622 – Great Verizon service. Big rig friendly.
Towns Bluff Campground. (See GPS Coordinates on picture) I’m only adding this under the boondocking section because we stayed here. Here’s the deal! We were going to stay right around the corner at the disbursed, free campground. But we needed to dump our tanks first. They charged $10 to dump but with our Passport America pass it was only going to be $12.50 for full hook ups. And, we got the bonus of getting some laundry done for $1 a load. That’s cheap!! So sometimes you just have use your common sense on what makes more sense. And this little campground was very spread out, and pretty much like boondocking. Highly recommend this park if you carry the Passport America, which gives you 50% off at participating parks, and I can tell you, there are more than you think! Thousands upon thousands of participating parks in great locations. The price for the annual Passport America is $44 and we saved that the first month we uses it.
So what did you find in Georgia that is unique and different? Willing to share it with us? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below, and share your own Off the Beaten Path places with us.